With more countries easing regulations and unveiling projects to lure financial technology companies, the race to establish cryptocurrency hubs in Asia is gathering more interest and pace. Although Japan may be ahead of the game as compared to other nations in Asia, there is no lack of opportunities for those who want to jump on the bandwagon.
In the Philippines, The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport are building a “Crypto Valley of Asia”, a $100 million blockchain hub which plans to mimic the birthplace of Ethereum, Zug in Switzerland which is currently home to about 200 over blockchain companies.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority has secured commitments from at least 25 tech companies to help set up the project, which will include an internet data centre, self-sustaining power production infrastructure and a “blockchain academy” training facility. Raul Lambino, the CEZA chief executive, said the project would generate 10,000 local jobs.
“The overwhelming interest from offshore companies in financial technology solutions and cryptocurrency trading that want to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has surpassed all our expectations,” Lambino said to Nikkei Asian Review in July.
The chairman of industry group Fintech Alliance Lito Villanueva mentioned that competition among countries to create a blockchain and financial hub was created by the influx of digital start-ups.
Also, The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission is set to allow international coin offerings in the country. Earlier this month, the body disclosed draft regulations that treat coin offerings as securities. The rules on token sales will be similar to those for an initial public offering.
South Korea too, seems to be taking a similar approach expressing similar aspirations.
According to reports in the Korea JoongAng Daily, Jeju’s Governer Won Hee- Ryong has expressed a desire for Jeju Island to become a hub for the blockchain industry in South Korea. Approval to designate Jeju Island as an exclusive zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency from the central government has also been sought by Won.
Jeju Governer Won Hee-Ryong was quoted saying “ Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]”.
Next year, The South Korean government has plans to invest approximately 5 trillion won ($4.4billion) on eight pilot projects and the development of a platform economy that is built on big data analytics.
Another Asian country that is stepping up their efforts to entice fintech companies to invest in their country is Thailand.
Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission implemented regulations on digital token offerings in July which allows issuers of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to offer up to 300,000 baht ($9,050) to retail investors.
When it comes to developing cryptocurrency business, Japan is ahead of its counterparts. A few Japanese companies have taken advantage of this technology to raise funds, but after the theft of over $500 million, mostly NEM coins from the Coincheck cryptocurrency exchange in January, and the rising public demands for investor protections, Japan’s government is contemplating tightening the regulation of the blockchain industry.
Frost & Sullivan, a Market research company, predicts that the fintech industry could grow as much as 72.5% from 2015 to 2020 to reach $72 billion. The outlook was based on the growth in the adoption of cashless payments and the growing awareness of consumers who are adopting the technology.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review